Home from a Heartfelt Weekend

It’s Wednesday and I’m still floating on air after a glorious long weekend at the Sew South retreat in North Carolina.  Admittedly, it’s been an exceptionally busy month filled with lackluster dinners, hectic school mornings, and tons of work on an exciting project that I can’t share with you quite yet (ugh, driving me crazy!), so this long weekend away came at just the perfect time for me.

I did attend last year, and yes, the sewing time was wonderful, the classes were amazing, the hotel bed sheets were heavenly, but I think what really drew me back most was the feeling of deep camaraderie.  So much sharing and encouragement, heaps of laughter and a few teary moments,and this year was no exception.  So much emotion, so much renewal.  And despite the all-night sewing sessions, somehow I returned home this week feeling refreshed and clear.  I’m hugging my children a little tighter, sweeping dried peas off the floor with just a little extra bounce in my step, and looking at my day through fresh eyes and a renewed gratefulness.

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This was my workspace at the first open sew night…I was right in the center of the large bustling ballroom, surrounded by wonderful friends, eating delicious takeout, watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and diving into some fabulous patchwork- aaahh, it was sheer heaven!

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The first night, several of our Circle 7 Travelling Bee members were presented with their finished quilt tops, which was such a special moment.  They’re all so unique!  Here’s Courtney’s, who requested we all add our “favorite things” to it.  Since I was the last stop on this quilt’s journey, I was able to photograph it at home before the retreat.

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I actually took a zillion more photos of this one, because I just adore it, and had so much fun adding to it and getting it all ready for Courtney, but I’ll share more of those with you in another post, maybe later this week. :)

Here’s Jennifer’s quilt in bold solids.

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Here is Valerie’s…she’s going to add the extra love block in an extra row somewhere.

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Oh, here’s Dana’s, which I think turned out UNBELIEVABLE!  She actually received it before retreat with enough time to add some borders and finish it, which was exciting to see.  For some reason I can’t find a picture of Lindsey’s (grrrr), and mine still needs to be stitched together so I’ll share those in a later post too :)

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Despite all my blabbing, I did get a good amount of sewing done…a lot of piecing, and also made this cute pair of fabric buckets in Heather Valentine’s super fun workshop.  My original intent was to save them as Easter baskets for my girls, but alas, I couldn’t wait to give them to them pretty much the instant I got home.  Maybe we’ll still use them for Easter goodies though :)

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I also started a really luscious embroidery project, courtesy of the lovely Alison Glass and her fabulous workshop.  Thanks to Sew Lux Fabrics for providing us with a yummy rainbow of thread, and to Pellon for just the right fusible interfacing to stabilize the fabric.  I was hoping to get so much further by this time, but darn it if I didn’t lose the only needle that I had with me, just as we took off on a 4 hour flight- ah!  My hands were aching for a project the entire time!

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I can’t believe the delightful handmade goodies that I brought home!  Not one, but 2 journal covers (the one thing I REALLY was hoping to get, so I am ecstatic!).  Can I even describe to you how much I adore these covers???  The embroidered one on the left was a sweet gift from Jennifer of Ellison Lane, and the one on the right is from the oh-so-sweet Laurel of Sing All You Want who was my secret sister.  I love that one happened to contain a ruled notebook and the other has graph paper- I’m so set!

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And here’s another darling gift from Laurel…isn’t it precious?!?  What a great idea to use clear vinyl on the front of the pouch so you can see the contents!

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One of the most special moments of the weekend was on the very last morning, when Valerie presented Jennifer, our tireless retreat hostess, with this star sampler that we all contributed to.  I’ve gotta tell you, I’ve experienced some pretty teary quilt giftings, but this topped all of them.  Jenn’s reaction to the surprise was so precious, and I’m pretty sure everyone around me was crying (or maybe all that weeping was just me!).

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When she saw the back, she pretty much flipped her lid.  I know I did, when I saw it!

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I just love the signature blocks that Valerie had us send in as well- they’re so perfect on the back.

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Seeing all of the ladies gathered around to marvel at the quilt afterward was so cool.  I just love how projects like this bring us all together in such a special way.  Everyone was pointing our their blocks, and guessing who’d made what, or asking about fabrics…it was like a magnet that pulled us in and gave us even more connection.

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Well, that’s my weekend wrap up!  Now it’s off to grill something tasty for dinner on this warm spring-esque evening (well, at least it is here where I am).  Thanks for stopping by to check out my highlights.  Feeling so blessed. :)



  1. I have been patiently, ever so patiently, waiting for you to blog about your Sew South weekend! Maybe next year! It sounds so wonderful and exciting! Thanks for posting!

  2. It was so great to connect again at Sew South this past week. I loved catching up and stitching with you. The baskets look great in their new home. I hope the girls enjoy them!

  3. Wow! That looks like so much fun, Amy! One of these days, I’m going to plan my trip to see my mom in SC around the Sew South retreat. What a blast that would be! Thanks for sharing your pics with all of us :)

  4. lovely recap of a perfect wekend

  5. It was a great weekend Amy! So nice to sit close and catch up.

  6. Lynne Tilley says:

    Those buckets are just ADORABLE! And all the other pics you shared, WOW. What great fun, and such talent and beauty shown in all those projects. I tried to find that bucket pattern with that link, but could find nothing. Is there a pattern for sale somewhere? Thanks again! Enjoyed your post so much.

  7. I enjoyed reading about and seeing what a great experience you had at your highly anticipated Sew South weekend. What a nice and talented group of quilters! Your quilt for hostess Jennifer is lovely, and such a sweet gift she will cherish, I’m sure.
    I agree, those buckets are adorable!

  8. Wow! So much goodness!

  9. This sounds so much fun! Lot of quilty goodness! That star quilt is just amazing, and your hostess reaction is priceless!

  10. So many lovely quilty things to see! Everyone’s bee quilts are wonderful & I especially love the hostess quilt. Thanks for sharing!

  11. It is nice to see all the young women in quilting. HOORAY!!!!

    • I totally agree! It is wonderful to see young women, and men, take up this wonderful and creative craft. You go, girls, and pass it on!

  12. Wonderful recap my sweet friend. Loved seeing pics of everyone looking at the quilt- I missed that part – I must have been zipping around the room hugging everyone before they packed up! SO so glad you were there my wonderful friend. xo

  13. Susan Clay says:

    Thanks for sharing impressions and your photos. I’m sorry to say, I took none.

  14. This sounds like such a wonderful weekend! The quilt you all gave Jennifer is beautiful and such a sweet thing to do :)

  15. What a wonderful weekend you had. I loved seeing the quilts and the projects. Thanks for sharing the recap of the event.

  16. Looks like you guys had so much fun. What a nice gift that was that you made for Jennifer. Something I’m sure she will treasure forever. I love waiting each year for your sew south recap. I have just joined a guild and I think long weekend sewing trips would be amazing. I love the fabric buckets you made and the fabric choices are just devine. Can’t wait to see some of your secret projects that you have been working on.

  17. Wow!!! sounds like so much crammed into a great retreat! Loved all the photos of everything, I was drooling! Always happy time to get away, but with your cuties, bet you were glad to get back also!! Looking forward to those unmentionable projects too, Thanks for sharing, Amy!!

  18. Thanks for sharing all the fun pictures ,all great projects and quilts. Wish you could share some of the spring weather we are still getting snow here in Michigan and below freezing temps.

  19. Do you have a picture of your traveling Circle quilt top?

  20. Amy, as always it is good to read your blog. It puts a huge smile in my days. Things have been crazy busy around my house as I am finally moving to an apartment on my own – first time in my 60 years. WooHoo…. When I get settled, I plan on doing something that only involves my quilting, even if its a whole day of sewing and not answering the phone. lol And, how wonderful it is to hear from someone else that cannot hold back a special gift. My kids laugh at me all the time because I give them things the same day I get them. Too funny. So happy you have a good time and enjoyed catching up with everyone. And last thank you for sharing with all of us.

  21. Great post, really enjoyed reading and admiring all the wonderful projects. Just love the bucket bags. Would love to know if there’s a pattern to buy.

  22. Beautiful recap! I loved sewing for you – your blog is just chock full of inspiration and so much of you…I almost felt like I knew you before I got there. But, truly it was so great to meet you in person! I SO hope I’ll be back at Sew South next year and hope you will too. : )

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